Thinking about starting up your own family day care centre? There is a lot to consider – and that’s why we have created this blog post. Have a good read through and find out all you need to know about setting up your family day care.
Benefits of starting a family day care centre
You’ll be working from home
Combine your passion for working with children with your desire to work from home, and you’ve got the makings of a family day care centre! For many people, working from home offers greater flexibility and better control of their work-life balance.
Lower entry costs
Through a home-based centre, entry costs are generally much lower than starting your own centre in a space that needs to be either rented or purchased.
However it’s important to remember that you will likely need to make some changes or additions in your home (including fences, barriers, doors, outdoor shades, and window locks), as well as cots, blankets, tables, play equipment, books, toys, and food.
You must also consider the costs of obtaining various qualifications, certifications, insurance, and more.
Control your working hours
Most centre-based childcare services operate during the usual business hours, but as an at-home childcare worker, you might consider offering more unique hours, such as outside regular business hours, or weekends and public holidays.
Offering these unique hours can make your family day care centre a more appealing and flexible approach to a parents searching for reliable care.
You could enjoy a lower child turnover
Family day care solidifies strong relationships between carer and child, and this bond in a more personalised home-based environment can help you retain children for longer. Unique hours are also a plus for busy parents who will find themselves relying on you for years and years!
What experience do I need?
Just as you require the minimum standard qualification to work in a childcare centre, you will also need to have – or be enrolled and working towards – your Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
This is the minimum qualification required in the industry. Learn more about Certificate III here.
Educator to child ratios
Educator to child ratios differ between centre-based services and family day care centres.
In every Australian state and territory except for Queensland, the educator to child ratio for a family day care centre is as follows:
“1:7, with no more than four children preschool age or under, including educator’s own children younger than 13 at the residence.” (ACECQA)
Expenses to consider
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Electricity and gas
- Food and drink
- Outdoor equipment
- Books, games, and other activities
- Bedding and other furniture
- Wages for your employees (if any)
This may include public liability insurance, personal accident insurance, management liability insurance, and accidental death cover.
Your family day care set up
The following are all important considerations you should make when you’re planning the set-up of various spaces in your home.
You must consider designated spaces for play, sleep, and mealtimes. These rooms should maintain a comfortable temperature and be bright and inviting! In the play area, you should consider tables, books, couches or cushions, toys, and other play-based activities.
Outdoor play areas
- What kind of equipment should you add to provide a fun and active space for children outside?
- Should you consider installing fake grass and perhaps a large shade?
- Does that back gate need to be repaired?
First aid kits
There should be several first aid kits in your family day care centre that can be quickly and easily accessed by all adults. First aid kits are an important part of your family day care set up.
You should strongly consider a landline telephone to handle new enquiries, current clients, and most importantly, emergencies.
Evacuation plans and emergency procedures
Procedures mean little if they are not regularly reviewed and updated. Ensure exits are clearly plotted and you and any other adults in the home know what to do in case of a variety of emergencies.
Records of children’s medication / allergies
Clear and up-to-date records of children’s allergies should be readily available. You must also record details of any injury or accident that takes place within your family day care centre.
More important considerations when starting a family day care centre…
Are you renting?
Speak to your landlord first! Don’t do anything, apply for anything, or buy anything until you’ve spoken to your landlord.
Have a conversation with your family
Discuss the idea, your passion, and the vision, and most importantly, listen to their feedback! In Australia, every adult that’s present in the home during your operating hours must be fit to be around children – even if they’re not childcare educators.
Working with Children Check (WWCC) and Police Check
Starting your own family day care centre
Providing essential care to children with the ability to offer more flexible hours makes family day care a popular care choice for Australian parents.
While at first it might seem daunting, we hope the information provided will help you make better, more informed decisions when you start planning your day care centre.